My Favorite Chicagoland Veggie Spots
Anyone who knows me knows I eat quite a bit of meat, but sometimes even I want a veggie meal. Lots of vegetarian friendly or vegan restaurants I’ve been to have some kind of soy in nearly every single entree, or a menu full of fake meat dishes – plants trying to be meat. In my opinion, vegetables, textured vegetable protein, seitan, or any other non-meat item trying to be meat just doesn’t work out very well. Why is the focus of a menu for a vegan restaurant on the one thing a vegan chooses not to eat – meat? Instead of serving mock salmon or vegetarian chicken, I love it when veggie restaurants celebrate veggies and fruits for what they are and make them the focus of the menu. Fruits and vegetables are full of life, beautiful, colorful and flavorful and should be appreciated for what they are! When I want a good, plant based meal in the Chicago area, I like to go to one of these four places that celebrate fruits vegetables and create wonderful, cleansing, and healthy dishes.
Amitabul - This vegan, Korean restaurant mixes a wide variety vegetables into most of their entrees and the result is flavorful, nutrient packed meals. The menu consists of soups, salads, stews, curries, bi bim bop, steamed stir veggies, savory pancakes, dumplings, juices, desserts and more. They even have a healing soup on the menu that contains Chinese herbs! Their warm, spicy dishes are great on chilly, Chicago winter nights.
Blind Faith Café - If vegetarian food is what you're craving, this Evanston restaurant and bakery has lots of options. They have various menu items with eggs and cheese as well as plenty of vegan dishes that are American fare, Mexican, or Asian inspired. One of my favorite menu items is the macrobiotic plate. Their bakery has vegan, vegetarian, and even a few gluten free items. Plus it’s a Certified Green restaurant as they participate in many earth friendly practices such as composting kitchen waste, sourcing sustainable foods, and conserving energy and water.
Earth’s Healing Café - My favorite juice in the city comes from this small, takeout only spot in Ravenswood. Their juices taste awesome, are made from organic produce (not organic produce when possible), and they use unique, therapeutic ingredients that you don’t usually see in the average juice bar like dandelion greens and burdock root. The names of the juices are equally unique and therapeutic. I believe word choice is very important as thoughts expressed as words have a profound effect on reality, so names like My Blood is Pure, Inflammation is Gone, and My Digestion is Perfect create positive, healing intentions for the consumer. The café also has a good selection of herbal teas a limited amount of tasty prepared foods like salads and energy bites.
Green Zebra - This high-end, gourmet, vegetarian restaurant makes you almost forget you’re eating at a place that doesn’t serve meat with their beautiful, artfully prepared, seasonal dishes. Their menu certainly celebrates fruits and vegetables and the chef’s focuses is on purity of ingredients, locally sourced produce and seasonal menu selection. Most importantly, the dishes taste as good as they look.